Big Island Sights

Kekaha Kai State Park—Mahaiula Side

  • Hwy. 19 Map It
  • Kailua-Kona
  • Beach–Sight
  • Fodor's Choice
  • Beach, Kekaha Kai State Park, Mahaiula Side, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

    SYLVIO MICHEL / Shutterstock

Published 09/02/2015

Fodor's Review

It's slow going, down a 1.8-mile, bumpy, mostly unpaved road off Highway 19 to this beach park, but it's worth it. This state park encompases three beaches (from south to north, Mahaiula, Makalawena, and Kua Bay, which has its own entrance). Mahaiula and Makalawena are beautiful, wide expanses of white-sand beach with dunes; there's a lot of space so you won't feel crowded. Makalawena has great swimming and boogie boarding. (Note: Makalawena, sandwiched in the middle of the two state parks, falls under the jurisdiction of Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estates. They have their own access road, which is even rougher to traverse, and we don't recommend it!) From there, a historic 4½-mile trail leads to Kua Bay. If you're game, work your way to the top of Pu‘u Ku‘ili, a 342-foot-high cinder cone whose summit offers a fantastic view of the coastline. However, be prepared for the heat and bring lots of water, as none is available. Open daily 8–7. (Gates close promptly at 7 pm, so you need to leave the lot by 6:30.) Watch out for rough surf and strong currents. Amenities: vault toilets. Best for: beachgoing; swimming; hiking.

Sight Information


Hwy. 19, turnoff is about 2 miles north of Keahole–Kona International Airport, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740, United States

Map It


808-327–4958; 808-974–6200

Published 09/02/2015


Map View

Map of

What's Nearby

  • Restaurants
  • Sights
  • Hotels

See all sights in Big Island

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?




Don't Miss

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE email communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.